The Sumner County Sheriff’s Office held a virtual memorial service Wednesday to remember all local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
The program, held each year during National Police Week, was streamed live March 13 on Facebook. It included a 21-gun salute, playing of taps and remarks from Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford.
“The lives of the men whose names are on our wall are far too important to not be recognized and remembered,” Weatherford said about the decision not to cancel the service due to COVID-19. “The families of our fallen are far too important to not be supported and honored.”
While each fallen officer is equally heroic, Weatherford noted this year’s program was “especially important to Sumner County.”
In December, Hendersonville Master Patrol Officer Spencer Bristol, 31, was killed while chasing a fleeing suspect on Interstate 65. His death marked the first time in 11 years that a Sumner County law enforcement officer had been killed in the line of duty.
“He was motivated,” Weatherford said. “He had led a lifetime of Christian service both at home and abroad. He was doing his best for all of us.”
Other fallen Sumner County law enforcement officers include:
- Deputy Brian Denning, Sumner County Sheriff’s Office (Dec. 8, 2008)
- Officer Danny MacClary, Hendersonville Police Department (Sept. 27, 2000)
- Det. Lynn Hicks, Goodlettsville Police Department (May 22, 1999)
- Sgt. Jody Sadek, Hendersonville Police Department (Sept. 20, 1988)
- Det. David Mandrell, Sumner County Sheriff’s Office (June 28, 1988)
- Sgt. Steve Downing, Gallatin Police Department (April 12, 1985)
- Sgt. Richard Bandy, Hendersonville Police Department (Jan. 19, 1980)
- Officer James Gammons, Hendersonville Police Department (July 13, 1974)
- Deputy Ulysses S. Brent, Sumner County Sheriff’s Office (May 9, 1930)
“None of those brave men signed up for fame or fortune,” Weatherford said. “They signed up to help us. They signed up for the love of their neighbor. They signed up knowing that were it not for the order that they stood for, society could not enjoy the liberties that are guaranteed.”
“These men gave their lives to make our lives better,” he added in closing. “We will never forget.”
Nationwide, there have been at least 24,232 known law enforcement deaths that have occurred since 1776, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Of those, 654 were in Tennessee.